Penguicon 4.0 was held over the weekend of April 21-23, 2006 at the Livonia Holiday Inn Holidome in Livonia, Michigan. This was an unanticipated shift of venue as a result of problems with the former hotel, and it created some problems of its own. Most markedly, it resulted in the dealers' room being much smaller than planned, so that all the dealers were crammed in together with inadequate backspace and aisles that were too narrow for people to shop comfortably.
At least we knew ahead of time, so we could plan and make adjustments, which meant it wasn't quite the level of disaster as ShowMeCon in 2004. However, it still meant we had a very awkward setup that made it impossible to put out our usual arrangement of merchandise. But blade dealer and author Michael Z Williamson, who had the table right beside us, had no backspace at all because his table was right in front of a folded-up temporary wall.
When we first arrived, the dealers' room wasn't actually ready for us to load in, so we sat around and waited. One of the other dealers asked me why I'd dragged my laptop computer with me, so I explained I was keeping all my data backed up on it and carrying it with me because we'd had our house broken into over the Thanksgiving weekend and had an older laptop stolen.
Once we got into the dealers' room, we had to do some serious arguing with the hotel just to get the problems with the table arrangement fixed. Then we loaded in our merchandise and got set up, not an easy task in such confined quarters.
Sales were disappointingly slow, which meant I had plenty of time to write. When the dealers' room closed for the evening, we headed over to the con suite to get some snackies, then made a quick visit to a couple of early-opening parties before heading back to the motel where we were actually staying to have supper before turning in for the night.
Saturday we got the complimentary breakfast at the motel before heading back to the con hotel to get our dealer tables open. We did make a brief stop in their computer room to jump on the Internet and check our e-mail.
Sales remained pathetically slow, at least partly because the dealers' room was so badly arranged that people just didn't want to shop. By the end of the day we decided it really wasn't worth it for us to come back, at least for a few years until they got a better venue.
After the dealers' room closed for the night, we went to the con suite to see a demonstration of using liquid nitrogen to make ice cream. We also visited some of the parties before heading back over to the Quality Inn for supper. Because it was threatening to storm, we decided not to go back to the con hotel to visit the late-opening parties. We just read and wrote until time to turn in for the night.
Sunday morning we got up early to get breakfast before getting our personal possessions out of our sleeping room and checking out. We headed over to the con hotel and checked our e-mail at the computer room. Then we headed over to the dealers' room to get our tables open.
Sales were so slow that I did some more writing while we hoped for those last-minute sales. We finally decided to go ahead and start packing. While we were at it, my husband decided to buy some books off another dealer. I was uncertain about it because the van was already pretty full when we came up, and we really hadn't sold that much of our stock.
Loading was further complicated because it started raining right about then. It wasn't a really heavy rain, but there was just enough of it that we had to tarp every load to keep our merchandise from getting wet. And as luck would have it, the rain would have to stop just as we carried out out last load. At least we didn't have to drive through that much rain on the long way home.
Copyright 2012 by Leigh Kimmel
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Last updated October 21, 2012.